Pirna Travel Blog

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The next three days we use Pirna as a base to explore the surrounding countryside and Dresden too. Located in the Elbe valley Pirna is known as the gateway to Saxon Switzerland and the Saxon Wine region.

The town is infamous as the prototype for the Nazi Death camps. From early 1940 until end of June 1942, a part of the huge mental asylum within Sonnenstein Castle overlooking Pirna was converted into a killing centre: the This was the first use of techniques later rolled out and refined for use within the Final Solution. A gas chamber and crematorium were installed in the cellar of the former men's sanitary.

From end of June 1940 until September 1942, approximately 15,000 persons were killed in the scope of the euthanasia programme. The staff consisted of about 100 persons. One third of them were ordered to the extermination camps in occupied Poland, because of their experiences in deception, killing, gassing and burning innocent people.

There they were trained by the killing groups who mounted the killing machinery in the later camps like Treblinka.During August and September 1942, the Sonnenstein killing centre was closed and incriminating installations such as gas chamber installations and crematorium ovens dismantled. After October 1942, the buildings were used as a military hospital.

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photo by: aloneinthecrowd